Gambling Away The Past 4/? (2016-03-13)

Being on Team Kakashi–this strange past version of it–is not so different from being on the Team Kakashi Shikako grew up with. Team Sevens are almost always structured the same way, heavy hitters with big personalities and the same formula of rivalries and friendship somehow interlocking into a functional unit.

And yet, oddly, it’s the similarities that make Shikako so keenly aware that this team is not her team. Or rather, the way the similarities make the differences stand out all the more. This Kakashi, young and angry and not eroded away by time and loss–or at least, not as much loss as her Kakashi–is like looking at the sketch of a familiar picture. The lines forming a recognizable shape, but still rough and colorless and liable to change.

Obito, like Naruto, burns in her chakra sense; bright and all-encompassing. But where Naruto was the sun, Obito is a volcano. Smaller yes, but somehow more dangerous. A natural disaster waiting to happen rather than the constant, reliable warmth of sunshine. Apt, considering what his future could have been, had Shikako not interfered.

What’s most fascinating–and unexpected–is Rin. Unsurprisingly, Shikako does not know much about Rin Nohara, not from either life. It’s shameful to think about in these terms, but the truth is: Rin had only existed as a part of Kakashi’s story, and not even a significant part–so tangential to main plot and tucked away in the corners of Kakashi’s mind with all of the other traumatic losses he suffered.

But meeting Rin in person is so interesting. Shikako’s only met a few people with naturally dual chakra natures–Tenzo and Mei Terumi among them–and it’s always interesting to her senses, but that’s not what is most interesting about her. Strangely, Rin reminds her not of Sakura or Shikako herself–but of Sasuke. Honed like a blade, her chosen role as a healer held above all other desires, and so damned loyal to her teammates.

Shikako is honored to be part of this Team Kakashi, even if it is not the Team Kakashi she grew up with. She is certain she will grow to love them as much as she does her own.

And anyway, Shikako has already changed the timeline, there is no harm in changing it further. If she can alter one life, surely she can save another and prevent the heartbreak of the third.

It is during Team Kakashi’s eighth mission that Shikako tries and fails to summon Heijomaru and nearly gets stabbed through chest for it. Been there, done that, she’d rather not have an encore.

Luckily, Obito takes the time out of his own fight to send a fireball to distract her enemy and she takes the opening to recover herself.

At the end of it, with Rin patching up their injuries with a stern face, Kakashi turns to her and asks, “What happened?”

Not out of concern, but the way one shinobi asks another for a report. Shikako is still not used to this Kakashi, the one who will have to learn about teammates and friendships the slower, easier way. If she were younger and softer she might have flinched at his tone, but she has not been that girl for a long time–that girl may very well never come to be.

“I tried a technique,” Shikako says simply, flatly, because two can play at this game, “It didn’t work.”

“You tried to summon something,” Kakashi corrects, because of course a fellow summoner would recognize the action.

“Yes,” she agrees, because there is no reason not to, “And it didn’t work,” she repeats pointedly, dismissive.

Kakashi ignores the cue to drop the matter and instead says, “We can’t have that kind of liability out in the field.”

Shikako, fed up with this harsh Kakashi and the stress of war and the knowledge that all she has ever known has been taken from her again, is less than pleased, “I won’t try to use it again!” she snaps, and doesn’t feel the slightest bit guilty at the way Obito’s eyes widen with surprise, or the way Rin stills completely.

But it’s what little of Kakashi’s expression she can read that makes her pause–the narrowing in his eyes that she recognizes from her own sensei–a point made and an argument won. Shikako realizes then that the lack of summoning might not be the only liability he was talking about. Her irritation recedes.

“We’ll head back to base camp for now,” Kakashi decides, “Ikoma-san will want to know what we’ve found,” he says, and that’s like Shikako’s Kakashi, too. A kindness hidden behind monotone and apathy–Shikako is a stranger amongst them, still, she may find comfort in her family.

It is well meant; it’s not his fault he doesn’t know that Ikoma is more of a stranger to her than Kakashi.

They report immediately to Ikoma–Team Seven luck remaining strong even backwards through the years as they explain how their scouting mission turned into a battle because of a stray combination Iwa-Kumo team–before Rin excuses herself to join the medical tent and the boys likewise leave to offer their services to the camp.

Leaving Shikako with the uncle that died before she was born.

They are Nara, far used to more subtle manipulations, and so their efforts are deemed obvious but charming for it. Between them they share an amused smile, a raised brow, and the smallest laugh–a fleeting moment of levity during war.

Ikoma waits for her to speak first, so much like Shikako’s father that she doesn’t feel the awkwardness she expected.

“I tried to summon Heijomaru,” she says, before hesitating, unsure if her uncle knows the deer summons by name.

But he is clan heir, now, and Ikoma laughs, “Sembei-obaasan let you sign the scroll?” Before he, too, hesitates, “Unless it wasn’t Sembei-obaasan… is she still alive when…” unready or perhaps unwilling to verbally acknowledge that Shikako is from the future–a future–though she knows he knows.

They stand in silence.

“I’m pretty sure she’s older than Konoha itself,” Shikako tries, which brings the smile back to both of their faces.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Ikoma nods, considering, “She’s not a field shinobi anymore, but given the tactical advantages of our clan’s summons she may have been deployed to one of the other base camps. I can send a request in, see if she can be sent here. If not, then have your team sent to wherever she is,” he says, in the recognizable tones of a Nara planning.

“Oh, that’s…” generous, kind, unnecessary, she doesn’t say.

“You’re family,” Ikoma says, argument against all three, efficient with his words in a way so familiar to her.

Because they are family, even if they are strangers to each other; he’d never send out troops hampered, he’s not going to do so to family.

And Shikako knows that it’s war and she can’t promise to save him, but she’s going to try.


A/N: 😀 …. or… O_O

I still have no idea what I’m doing with this series.

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